Fostering a Change of Mind
Facilitating a genuine change of mind can’t happen the way most of us think. Yes, I know, by now, I must sound like a broken record! Remember those things? Disks of vinyl or shellac that would incessantly repeat passages when scratched. But some things can’t be said enough. And so it is with what’s truly necessary to facilitate human change and growth.
We all want the disturbed characters we know to have a change of mind. We want them to see things differently – as we and others see them. And we want them to behave differently, too, like most of the responsible people we know. But mostly we want them to want to see and do things differently. And that, of course, is a matter of heart.
No one can make another change their mind. Nor can anyone make another’s heart open or be more compassionate or understanding. Still, it’s surprising how many relationship partners and even well-trained therapists try to do such impossible things! (See, also: Facilitating Change in Irresponsible Characters.)
How It Has to Happen
People don’t change their minds because you tell them over and over again how misguided they are. (Talk about sounding like a broken record!) And they don’t change their minds because you point out the bad circumstances their misguided ways invite. Besides, they think the way they do because it’s compatible with their makeup. And they act the way they do because the perceive the rewards to outweigh the cost of change.
I can’t say this enought. Too relationship partners waste considerable time and energy trying to get character-impaired folks to “see” the error of their ways. Misguided therapists do this, too. But even if it were possible to accomplish this, it still wouldn’t be enough. It’s one thing to “see” someone’s point. It’s quite another thing to “agree” with it. And it’s an even bigger thing to take it to heart, and then commit to change. (See also: Chapter 7 in Character Disturbance.)
Changing a mindset is more a matter of personal “conversion.” That’s what all the great sages throughout the ages tell us. Real, meaningful change involves what the Greeks called metanoia. Literally, this means a change of mind, but not just any mind. It’s the broader “mind” or awareness some say lies within the deepest recesses of our soul. Accordingly, true conversion or metanoia involves a change of both our (rational) mind and our heart. (See also: Spiritual Awakening and Character Growth.)
Essentials for the Journey
Meaningful change always occurs in the here-and-now moment. That’s because what we’re thinking, feeling, and doing reflects what’s in our hearts at any given moment. So, if the way we’re thinking, feeling, or acting is going to change, what’s in our hearts has to change first. And that’s why I spent so much time fashioning Essentials for the Journey, now available on Amazon. And I’ll be discussing its principles in several upcoming Character Matters podcasts. Catch the latest one by following this YouTube link.